Bob’s Big Boy 49

Bob's big boy 49

In the San Fernando Valley town of Burbank, CA, there is a legendary landmark known as Bob’s Big Boy 49. As a young Burbank resident, I can remember riding to the drive in with my older brother in his ’53 Chevy, with the built 283 and ordering “Big Boy” burgers, with shakes to top off the meal and brought to you by a lovely car hop. By the way, Big Macs taste suspiciously like the old “Big Boys”. The menu hasn’t changed much since the 50’s, so if you want to sample cuisine from a bygone, motorhead era, then Bob’s is your place! Located at: 4211 West Riverside Drive; this old school drive in restaurant has been hosting an impromptu Friday night car show for the better part of two decades. It’s free to the public and anybody can bring just about anything they want, until they run out of room in the parking lot! This goes on year round and the only thing that would get in the way of it would be a zombie apocalypse or worse…rain. That is basically the only situation for cancellation. Considering the scarcity of that meteorological phenomenon in the arid climate of the “valley”, it’s a safe bet that your weekend can start with a stroll around the Bob’s parking lot.

As for rides, probably the only criteria is whether or not your car get there under it’s own steam. And I actually I have seen Jay Leno roll in, from his shop in a Stanley Steamer.  Everything from a ’32 highboy roadster with twin turbos, to a Bonneville racer on a trailer, appeared at this show. Or, oddballs like a fully restored Crosley estate, from the U.K. You can also see cars go through their entire transformation from a barely street legal, running custom without interior, to a fully fleshed out and completed project. It’s not only free and entertaining but it’s also a bit educational. Gear heads love to talk about their cars and what it took to get them to the point of personal satisfaction. Who knows, you just my pick up a few pointers or get ideas for your future project!

In my mind, this is the true essence of hot rodding or just car love in general. It’s a place where everybody can share appreciation for all thing internal combusting and cool. Pull up in your own ride and grab something to eat or go inside and dig on the retro vibe of the décor. Or, if you’re so inclined, park down the street and stroll into the parking lot and soak it in.  Everybody seems happy and appreciative of the event and the impromptu nature of it lends itself to a free and easy feel. And if your significant other complains that you’re spending too much time away doing your car thing, then bring her (or him) and the kids along and you’ve just had a very cheap family date that was loads of fun!  Yes, hot rodding and the 50’s vibe is alive and well at Bob’s and you can partake every Friday night that you can get away. And, for a change of pace you can check out “Papoo’s Hot Dog Show”, another local Burbank fixture, located across the street. Movie trivia: The Hot Dog Show was used in a scene from the 1956 movie, “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. The scene was toward the end of the movie, where a couple of cops are eating at the bar (open to the outside, now closed) and they hear a call go out of a disturbance; the disturbing party being the actor Kevin McCarthy. Or if you’re coming in from the west end of the valley you can check out George  Barris’ shop on Riverside Drive and every gearhead knows what he is famous for!

So if you find yourself in the Los Angeles area, with a Friday night left to kill, you’d be hard pressed to do better than an evening at Bob’s. The price is right and the atmosphere is welcoming and cool. Good people and good rides spell “fun” for those who get the vibe. There are probably other places around, especially in SoCal, that do similar events and if driving to the wilds of Burbank, is a bit of a stretch for you, then seek them out and I’m sure ye shall find! It’s a show without all the pomp and circumstance, of a competition. Maybe “show” is not the proper term after all. It’s more like a gathering, than a show, which lends to it’s laid back vibe and feel good nature. Sadly, I moved out of the area, to East Coast about 10 years ago and I haven’t been able to partake in my weekly ritual but for those of you who have the opportunity to attend , I suggest you do so, you’ll be glad you did.

Would you turn your classic electric?

You can’t escape it, our use of fossil fuels like gasoline is bad for the environment. When it comes to new cars, for about a decade hybrids have become more and more popular. And, it’s pretty inevitable that in the next 15-20 years most new cars will be powered exclusively by batteries. Recently Volkswagen teamed up with eClassics to convert a classic Beetle from its original gas engine to an electric motor. This concept intrigued us and, having an audience of over 800,000 petrol heads in our community, we decided to ask them what they thought. And, the results may surprise you…

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Image source: @_scl_photography

We asked our community if they would ever convert their gas-guzzling classic to a battery-powered car and the results were split pretty much 50/50. Here’s a selection of some of the best comments we got on this topic:


Yes:

In time it will be more commonplace. There are some benefits to electric cars and technology is continuously improving.

Batteries are getting affordable so this marriage just seems correct. The future can be cool as Ice.

Yes! As long as it is not my primary source of transportation!

 

And, more predictably here’s the no camp:

Not to a clasiq car, But maybe a VW bug

HELL NO!

Battery probably costs more than the car. Very efficient. No.

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Image source: @loicpc

So, from our pretty unscientific poll, we can conclude that attitudes towards electric engines are softening. We’re pretty convinced that if we asked this question three years ago there would be a lot more hell no’s!

What do you think?

Class, Style and Horsepower

Since the beginning of the automobile folk’s around the world tried to improve on the way they drove, road, and how they could make them faster. The late 20’s, 30’s improved greatly on class and making them a smooth ride. Not just by the factory designers but also by mechanics and other folks around the world. Farm boy’s taking them apart and putting them back together figuring out what would and wouldn’t work. Idea’s were sparked in barn’s, garages, and filling stations across the land. A lot of changes to automobiles were done this way. The 40’s brought a lot more class and more horsepower. The straight 8’s, better chassis’s, and yes more style and class.

The auto industries were all about making high quality long lasting vehicles. Road’s around the world were being improved it was a great time in automobile history. The 50’s now some would disagree that the 50’s didn’t have the class of the past. Myself I say they not only had class but they had style and a attitude. The kind of car or pickup you had reflected a person’s personality and attitude. Plus horsepower was becoming the big sell. Especially from 1955 threw 58. Chevy, Ford, Pontiac, Chrysler, Cadillac, Packard, and many more all had power in mind.

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The 1960’s much like the 50’s some would say they don’t have the style, and class of the past and again I disagree. The 60’s brought in a lot of different design’s and different model’s. Horsepower was the main sale Chevy with the impala, corvette, and the Camaro. Ford with the Galaxie, Mustang, Cobra, and the Torino. Pontiac with the GTO, Lemans, and the Firebird. Plymouth, Dodge with the Charger, GTX, Super Bee, Road runner, and the Dart. All of those names screamed Horsepower and the names had the power to back them. Posi-traction, stronger chassis, classic cool body design’s, and paint.

The 1960’s automobiles to me were the cutting edge in all aspect’s. It carried on into the 1970’s. Chevy, Ford, Pontiac, Plymouth, and Dodge were still producing classy, stylish, automobiles with horsepower. But like all great thing’s it ended. After 1972 automobiles and the world were more concerned with the environment, economy, and safety. Which are all important thing’s. But to me it ruined the style, class, and horsepower. Automobiles became smaller. Chrome was being phased out alone with style, and class. Horsepower dropped to nothing compared to the past. This is when farm boy’s and mechanics started to hold onto motor’s and other part’s from the past so they could build themselves a automobile with style, class, and power. Not everyone wanted cheap, eco friendly. The auto industry carried on that way threw the late 70’s, and all threw the 80’s, and 90’s.

From 2000 until now style, class, and horsepower has made it’s way back. But nothing like the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Those decades had it all. I’ve always said to people that from the mid 30’s to the 1950’s were pure style and class, and that from 1955 to 1972 was horsepower. After that it all went away. I have been fortunate in my life to be able to have worked on and driven many classic car’s, pickup’s. I have even owned a few. Of course at the time myself or no one else considered them classics. But as time goes on then they weren’t just an automobile they were a classic automobile. Which to me the term classic automobile, means Class, style, and horsepower.

An interview with classic car photographer, Amy Shore

Amy Shore is a UK based automotive photographer who lives and breathes cars. You could almost say that she was born to be involved in cars in some way or another. Amy’s father worked for Team Lotus in the 1980s as a wind tunnel modeller and then forged a further career in classic sports car restoration after he left. So, an appreciation of automotive aesthetics is clearly in the family.

Amy got her first car when she was 19, a classic Mini. Never one for horsepower, Amy is more interested in how the car makes her feel. Amy is also into bikes rides a ‘72 Honda and three BSA’s. She is also the Nikon UK Ambassador, enjoys guest lecturing and helping people to become a better photographer. Her words of wisdom for improving your photography? Just relax.

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Can you work on cars? “I can work on a car to a certain extent. When I go on my road trips I need to know a certain amount as when I’m on my own I need to be able to look after myself, take responsibility. I’ve got enough to know how bad the situation is let’s put it that way. You have to listen to the car, you need to know what engine is telling you and what it is asking for.”

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Why do people drive classics? “People feel a need for control and responsibility. When I’m driving my mini and it’s a nice day on nice roads, it’s the absolute joy of having music going and just driving. It’s a raw feeling, you don’t feel like your being looked after. You’re really connected to a classic car whereas in a new Bentley you don’t feel like that. If you do a road trip in an autonomous car will it contain the same sense of adventure? No, obviously not.”

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How does it feel to be a woman in classic cars? “Being a woman in classic cars was a ‘thing’ when I got into cars about 10 years ago. The owner of the shop would struggle to talk to me for example. The way that I always managed it was to draw the focus back to their and my favorite thing — cars. You do sometimes get treated differently. For example, at a famous British car event which I won’t name — I was asked to move back from somewhere because I was taking photos, but the guy in front of me doing exactly the same thing wasn’t. I believe in equality, I’ll accept help if I need it, from a man or a woman.”

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Is it beneficial or detrimental to be a woman in the car world? In the beginning, no one trusted me, not even women which hurt more, to be honest. However, truthfully, I feel that being a woman has, in the long run, helped me more than it has hindered me. Because I am more memorable. Because there are by far fewer women in the car world I became ‘that girl who takes pictures of cars’ which has really helped my career.”

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Have you ever had a guy come in as the “savior”? “Yes. I don’t know if they come over because they think it’s the right thing to do or if they actually know what to do! I do think people come over just because I am a woman sometimes. And if you do actually need help I’ve found it helpful to have a kind of guard up that says “I’m cool with this but I do need help” rather than appearing weak. I feel that you need to prove that you can put up with a lot more shit as a woman than maybe a man might have to.”

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How are women portrayed to you in the car world? “Woman can be considered weak and stupid and be perceived as having a lack of knowledge or interest. Sometimes the assumption is that if you are a woman and you’re not racing cars and winning then who are you?

This assumption is total rubbish. The women you see in the car world are often racing drivers, mechanics, engineers, and enthusiasts themselves! It’s a shame that there’s easily still an element of judging a book by its cover in the car world, where very few actually read the book.”

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Do men and women have different tastes in cars? “No, there’s no real difference in gender, taste is more age-related in my opinion. The young like the supercars, the older people like what they emotionally have ties to. It’s not about gender really in terms of what men and women like. It’s more where someone’s passion for cars first came from.”

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What stories do you like to tell through photography? “It’s the relationship between the car and the person. What evokes the emotions in me is the love that people have for their cars and the connection they have for it. What I also try to portray in my work is to stop people getting stuck in their ways and go out and explore the world. Doing it in a classic car feels like fun. It’s one of the easiest, most liberating ways to get out into the world. Getting my lycra on and jumping on a bike doesn’t do it for me, it just doesn’t excite me.”

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Who are your inspirations? “Don McCullan is one of my inspirations. He has an old camera, a bunch of old rolls and he just shoots. Laurent Nivalle is a huge inspiration in terms of car photography, his work in unparalleled. Quirina Louwman is a super strong and an amazing racing driver and she’s married to another racing prolific driver, James Wood. One other would be Maria Costello who is an amazing motorcycle racer, the only female in her discipline, she said you have to be very thick skinned to make it as a woman in this space.”

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There are some other women who are working in my field, working in a similar way to me, who you should check out: Kat, @motherofcars on Instagram is a good friend of mine and produces some great work. Sophie Charman @1sophiews is a brilliant automotive writer and petrolhead.”

What % of your IG audience is female? “11%”

Amy’s Instagram page is well worth a follow: https://www.instagram.com/amyshorephotography/ as his her excellent website where her prints are available for purchase: https://amyshorephotography.com.

Worst classic cars to repair

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We asked you, the Clasiq audience, who, lets face it, know a thing or two about repairing classics. Which classic was the worst car to repair? The results of our survey and some of the best comments from our community are below and the results may or may not surprise you!

Dave Logue Being a Corvette lover and owner for years, I would have to go with the Vette. Repairs to my beloved Vette’s come in thousand dollar $$$$$ chunks. Because of the sophistication of the designs and technology, not every repair shop or mechanic can work on one. Oh….but they are so worth the expense!!!!!!!

Olen Hall AMC cars were a hodge podge of parts from other manufacturers. And you had to pull the part in question and take it with you to get a replacement.

Harry Adams Corvette … No room under the car ..

Nelson Engleking Vett . Every time you drive the damn thing ( like granny)something would snap . Like one of the back axles.

Ronnie Rose Put head gaskets on a 327 in a Vette , next day my stomach was so sore ,felt like I had done a 100 setups , because I was afraid to lean on those dang fenders !

Slone Chris Of the choices, for me working at a full service Gulf station, putting fuel in a Corvette. Shop rag over nozzle to catch any fuel that might drip.

Dean Adams Pacer, cause it was built by AMC and they put things where they shouldn’t of been, making it a death trap

Vaughn May The C2 and C3 Corvettes because of the the Independent rear suspension (the swing link off the forward part of the frame) and the engine being placed back towards the rear as far back as possible to obtain near 50/50 weight distribution.

Fred Johnson Corvette? Spark plugs on GM V-8’s had to be changed by “feel.”

Gary Gustafson Work on it? From a body shop perspective, the Corvette hands down. Other folks told of the horror of its mechanical repairs.

Richard Kennedy Corvette cause it was impossible to get to the spark plugs and headers. Your almost have to pull the fenders off lift the engine up.

Rick Stanfield The t bird my dad had a 63 that was always going back to the dealership for a rattle finally when he told them to take it and shove it they dismantled it to find a coke bottle with a note HA HA you finally found me

Randy Marsh Any one of them was a pain to work on if you were the mechanic or week-end shade-tree, cause Sat. and Sun were the only days you had to fix stuff and the parts store wasn’t open on Sun. So Fri.-night in the garage til god knows when, and wake the wife up from your cussin and deal with that too now…..final answer= all of them, cause I’ve been There!!! I could go on, but you’ve got the picture…

Elly Ryan Corvette just try putting a battery in a 63 split window. With out scratching it. Ralph

Chris Cline The pacer was a very difficult car to change the back spark plug l think you had to remove the motor mount bolt. Why are you people haten on the pacer it’s a classic lol party on Wayne

Wayne Bristow Corvette you had too love one too work on it, dont believe me try aligning a early one you know like the toe adj in the rear (shims)….

AMC Pacer -34%
Corvette -37%
Shelby 500 – 17%
Thunderbird – 5%
Mercury – 7%

50 years of the Camaro

As you have probably noticed the year is 2019, which means it’s been 50 years since some of the greatest cars to grace our highways were launched. So we thought we would take a look back at some of the greatest classics from half a century ago to see if we can Make America Clasiq Again, or MACA, for short.

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50 years of the Mustang

It’s time for the second in our series of great American cars and how they look, and feel, half a century later. This time it’s the iconic Mustang, we think you will agree it’s time to Make America Clasiq Again or #MACA, for short.

 

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STUDEBAKERS ARE SURVIVORS AND SO ARE THEIR DRIVERS : A CASE OF PTSD

Studebaker, the only wagon company to convert to cars and be successful celebrated 100 years in business with the 1954 and 1955 Conestoga 2 door wagon. This extremely rare model was made only 2 years.

 

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Ask yourself the last time you saw one at a Cars n’ Coffee or a car show!  I attended a recreation “ New York to Paris Tour ”  sponsored by the local San Diego Antique Automobile  and Horseless Carriage Clubs starting at member’s vintage restored home on Saturday October 7, 2017.

 

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I drove my Supercharged Avanti powered 1955 Conestoga Wagon.  I intended to leave the tour in order to attend a surprise party for a friend in Coronado. I left our Lakeside stop and traveled south on my way to Coronado, California.

 

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It was just about noon and I was at the Lemon Avenue bridge proceeding at 60 -65 mph. I was  in the far right #3 lane (#1 lane is near the center divider, #2 is in the middle). A car cut me off and I  hit my brakes which locked up. I turned into the adjacent lane.  The accident report indicated I veered to the right and then back across the freeway with over 200 feet of skid. My car turned  sideways with the back end getting away from me so I was perpendicular to the direction of oncoming traffic  I got T boned (no wonder I don’t eat meat!).

 

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That I did not have my lap belt on  likely saved my life– because I would have had major chest and abdominal injuries from the impact into the door and floor. The pictures above and to the left  tell the story. The car that hit me  caused a chain reaction with two other cars.  Both apparently totaled.  My car rolled backwards into the door of a fifth vehicle which stopped at the side of the road.

 

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My vehicle was a special model with a unique build (supercharged Avanti Engine)   Every panel on the vehicle was damaged including front and rear chrome, windshield, cracked driver side door window broken (safety glass- no blowout).

 

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The 55 wagon had early and late year model windshield and door configurations.  They were completely different, the later model having a curved windshield and a different wind wing.  So the doors were not interchangeable.  You could either try to find an early model door or parts car which we were unable to do.

 

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I found an Identical car with the same factory color (Pima Red and Shasta White)  in Tennessee (an original Arizona rust free car.  This “new” car is a running driver with a Chevy 350 Engine and 350 Transmission with air conditioning). It was shipped and the roof was damaged in transport!!

 

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Through my Hagerty Insurance, I “totaled” my original vehicle and bought it back with the intent to swap all of the unique parts and sell off the Chevrolet engine and transmission.  However, my new acquisition was such a good original car I decided to fix both vehicles.  Lucky for me I found the skill and talent of Mike Haynes who apprenticed at Rolls Royce and Jaguar in England.  He is an expert artisan in old school metal repair.  In 7 months we were able to completely restore and repaint both vehicles.

 

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Thinking about all the little things I did that day –ending up where I did on the freeway just at a time to set all the events in motion, I am thankful for that “Angel” on my shoulder.  I sum it up with this aphorism–“MAN PLANS AND GOD LAUGHS.”

 

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I am a lucky and grateful person.

Keith

1947 TRIUMPH ROADSTER – THE WELSH CORGI OF TRIUMPHS

It was somewhere around 1980  here in San Diego when I spotted the odd car with a windshield in the trunk—how strange!  More visual inspection revealed folded seats in the trunk!!  Little did I know that one day that car would be mine and I would totally rebuild it.

 

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Turns out the car was a 1947 Triumph 1800 Roadster and was owned by a local in San Diego who at one time belonged to the San Diego Triumph Roadster club.  It found its way to an owner in Calexico who stored it in my friend’s warehouse in downtown.  After investigation and choosing between this and another 2 cars I decided to buy it and restore it to my own tastes.

 

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The Triumph Roadster was produced by Britain’s Standard Motor Company from 1946 to 1949. It was first available as the Triumph 1800 Roadster (18TR) from 1946 to 1948 and then as the Triumph 2000 Roadster (TRA) from 1948 to 1949.

 

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The 1800 Roadster, model number 18TR, was designed in the closing days of World War II. Triumph had been bought by the Standard Motor Company in 1944 and the managing director of Standard, Sir John Black, wanted a sports car to take on Jaguar, who had used Standard engines in the pre-war period.

 

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Frank Callaby was selected to style the new car. After getting Black’s approval for the general shape, Callaby worked with Arthur Ballard to design the details of the body Design of the rolling chassis was by Ray Turner. Walter Belgrove, who had styled the pre-war Triumphs and was employed as Chief Body Engineer, had no part in the design.

 

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The frame was hand welded up from steel tube. The engine was a version of Standard’s 1.5-litre, four-cylinder side-valve design that had been converted to overhead valves by Harry Weslake and built by Standard exclusively for SS-Jaguar before World War II. The Triumph version differed from the Jaguar version in having a 6.7:1 compression ratio instead of the Jaguar’s 7.6:1 and a downdraught Solex carburettor instead of the Jaguar’s side-draught SU. A four-speed gearbox with synchromesh on the top three ratios was used.

 

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The body design was anachronistic. A journalist old enough to remember the pre-war Dolomite Roadster that had inspired the car felt that the elegant proportions of the earlier model had been abandoned in favour of a committee-based compromise, “a plump Christmas turkey to set against that dainty peacock … [more] Toadster [than Roadster]” The front had large separate headlamps and the radiator was well back from the front between large “coal scuttle” wings.

 

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Passenger accommodation was on a bench seat that was claimed to seat three: the car’s 64 inch width helped make a reality of the three-abreast seating, and the approach meant a column gear change was required. The car’s unusual width also made it necessary to fit three screen wipers in a row, an example followed by early shallow windscreen Jaguar E Types. Additional room for two was provided at the rear in a dickey seat with its own folding windscreen: this was outside the hood that could be erected to cover the front seat. Entry and exit to the dickey seat was never easy and a step was provided on the rear bumper The Roadster was the last production car with a dickey seat.

 

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On test by Autocar magazine in 1947 top speed was found to be 75 mph (121 km/h) and 0–60 mph (0–96 km/h) took 34.4 seconds. Evidently keen to be positive without misleading their readers, the magazine described the maximum speed as “satisfying but not startlingly high”.

 

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The only significant update in the Roadster’s production came in September 1948 for the 1949 models, when the 2088 cc Vanguard engine, transmission, and rear axle were fitted. A retrograde step was the fitting of a three-speed gearbox even though it now had synchromesh on bottom gear. Apart from minor modifications to the mounting points, the chassis, suspension and steering were unaltered.[ This later version of the Roadster was given the model designation TRA.

 

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On test the changes resulted in the top speed increasing marginally to 77 mph (124 km/h) but the 0-60 mph time was much better at 27.9 seconds. The car was never made in large numbers and was mainly hand built. 2501 examples of the 1800 and 2000 of the larger-engined version were made. Production ended in October 1949 The actor, John Nettles, drove a Roadster 2000 in the 1980’s television series, Bergerac.

 

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Sitting on a good solid ash wood frame, I completely dismantled my car and everything was rebuilt.  It had a TR4A engine, C and C master cylinder and Brake Set Up.  It was rewired with modern electrics and a one wire alternator.  A Ford 8 inch rear end and a different gear set made the car more roadworthy.  Brakes, front end, shocks, cooling system gauges were all rebuilt.

 

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The car was painted int a two tone schemed A La Bugatti for the purpose of visually elongating the appearance. The hood was belted with a leather strap, a custom Mascot embraced the radiator cap.  I created beveled and etched glass wind wings and made Billet Steps for the rear Dickey seats.  I was honored with the acceptance of the car to honor British Cars at the San Diego Auto Museums Thirty Year Retrospective.

 

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Some interesting facts for the classic car lover

Here at Clasiq we like Classic Cars. We like looking at pictures of them, driving them and fixing them. And, what we really like to do is find out more about them and the people who drive them. To this end, and with some help from our friends at Hedges & Co, we just found at some interesting stuff about Classic Cars that we just had to share.

 

Ownership

 

The total ownership of cars in the US is estimated to be 5.8 million. That includes model year 1919 through 1981. If you eliminate 1980 and 1981 the number is 5.2 million.

1961-1981 is sometimes defined as “Late Post War” so the 5.8 million figure would be inclusive of “Late Post War” vehicles. Sometimes 1960-1970 is defined as “Late Post War” so the 5.2 million figure would be inclusive of that definition of “Late Post War.”  Either way you look at it, that’s a lot of people who drive a classic whip.

 

Sunshine and muscle really do mix

 

The top three states for classic car ownership are California, Florida and Texas. Of course, there are a lot of people in these states, but we think the sunshine may have a factor in this too, especially if the whip is a soft top.

 

The Chevy

 

This probably won’t surprise you but Chevrolet is the most popular classic car. It’s hardly a surprise when you consider that Chevy has produced cars like the Camaro is it?

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Restoration

 

Approximately 30% of all classics are currently undergoing restoration or are having some major work done to them. We all know that a classic can be a labor of love and what probably won’t surprise you is that they can be expensive. Owners spend an average of $10,000 a year on restoring their car.

 

Are classics just for the guys?

 

Apparently so! 85% of owners are guys and aged at around 57. The market is big too, really big, and is estimated to be worth around $5 billion a year. The average classic car owner has a household income of $125,000 a year and around 95% own their own home. Yep, you guessed it, many of us piston heads are probably guys and baby boomers.